My name is Nkasi and I struggled with a mental illness during my undergraduate and postgraduate life; and continue to struggle with depression, anxiety, and pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder as a PhD student.
As well as my battle with mental illness I also often struggle to navigate the varying degrees of racism I face as a black female PhD student. Research in young adults suggests certain personal identities (e.g. identifying as an ethnic minority, female, LGBTQI+) might mean you are more likely to struggle with mental health problems. There is lack of research into whether similar patterns of mental health inequality are present in the UK university student population.
This lack of research makes it difficult to design and deliver evidence-based resources, interventions, and support services for university students. Whilst the research world catches up, I am passionate about bringing people like me together to discuss and share our experiences and help cope with university life.
I set up a project called ‘Students of Colour Collective (SOCC)’ which is a research, consultancy and development initiative for and by university students who identify as a ‘student of colour’ (i.e. belonging to a Black, Asian and minority ethnic group). We deliver peer-support wellbeing groups for students of colour known as “SOCC Chat” which recently launched at King’s College London; as well as provide consultancy work around diversity, inclusion and representation within higher education.
My PhD project is titled ‘Exploring the relationship between Student-Wellbeing, personal Identity and university Culture in the United Kingdom’ (SWIC Study) under the supervision of Professor Stephani Hatch. My PhD is funded by the Economic Social Research Council, conducted at King’s College London, and in collaboration with Student Minds. We invite undergraduate and postgraduate students studying at a UK university to take part in a focus group, questionnaire, and/or 1:1 interview which asks questions about sociodemographic information (e.g. age, gender, ethnicity), university experiences, help-seeking, service-use, health and wellbeing. Our findings will be used for research purposes and to inform the development of culturally-relevant resources and interventions for students.
We are currently recruiting students for our project advisory board to help shape the SWIC Study. We are always looking to share learning so please do get in contact if you are also interested in student mental health and wellbeing and university culture.
To get involved please contact me on:
LinkedIn: Nkasi Stoll
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